Boy meets boy. It’s a romantic tale that has been told over and over again throughout the ages. It happens each and every single day, all around the world, to somebody… and it’s always fun to get a peek into the fantasy that we all want to be a part of. But after so many stories and so many tellings and retellings… limitless tales of the union between two characters who can’t bear to be apart… how can anyone expect to create that magical ‘spark’ that touches your readers in a way that hasn’t been done before?
It won’t be easy. But it’s not impossible.
I believe that, seeing as we’re all individuals, living different lives, with different desires and needs, and all drawing from a different set of life experiences… there’s no real limit as to how many different ways that you can tackle the typical ‘boy meets boy’ theme. If you speak from your own heart, and really pour the most intimate parts of yourself into your work, the promise of true love will NEVER grow old. Don’t ever think that your story can’t possibly add something unique and truly memorable to the genre just because there were many stories that come before it. What you have to remember is that your separation from the rest will come from your passion, your characters, and the situations surrounding them, and not just the theme of the story itself.
Let’s face it, if you’re just going to write about two cute boys getting together to have sex and then saying ‘I love you’ afterward… it will most likely be lumped in with a million other stories that have done the exact same thing. Blond, brunette, red head, high school, college, adult, whatever. It’ll all come out the same. There are only so many holes to fill on a person. Hehehe! Sex? Sex is easy. If you want to stand out and get your audience emotionally invested in your story… it’s romance that will get you there. Same as in real life.
There is a deep seeded need in all of us to be loved. To be cherished and cared about. To feel attractive and sexy and adored in the way that we adore those we favor in the same way. That is the stream of consciousness that you want to tap into as a writer. Not to be manipulative with your art, but to appeal to the basic nature that we are all a part of. Think about what it is that brings your deepest feelings of love and comfort to the surface. No need to avoid it. Embrace it. Define it for yourself. It takes time. It takes practice. But somewhere, deep down within you, there is an inexhaustible source of love that is open and available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And if you can just dig deep enough to find it, you’ll be AMAZED at how much material you can come up with! It will overflow and fill you up to a point of overabundance every chance that it gets! That’s where you’ll find your romantic side. Draw from that.
As a writer, you will be creating that whole world, brick by brick, all on your own. Safely. This is your golden opportunity to express who you really are and what it is you really want. However you want it to happen… it can happen. Get excited about it. And don’t hold back. Have FUN! It’s yours. You can do whatever you want with it.
You’d be surprised just how many people are WAITING to hear exactly what it is that you have to say! So go for it. That’s step one.
Next up? Characters play one of the BIGGEST parts in the whole romantic fantasy. Not just the love interest, but in the main protagonist as well. This is your cast. They are the people who are going to carry your vision to the masses. So take time and develop them. Usually, when I’m jotting down notes and trying to create new characters for a story, I don’t think of them as two different people. I try to think of them as one person, divided in half. Meaning that they each have certain pieces of themselves missing, and they’re searching for the other half of themselves. So, in “A Class By Himself”, Derrick may not have a lot of money, but he has a big heart and a loving mom who’s willing to stand by him at all times. Tanner, on the other hand, has the wealth and the friends and the material things, but he also has dismissive parents, has trouble dealing with his sexuality, and doesn’t possess any real ‘light’ in his life. They fit together, like two pieces of a puzzle. One person, split in two. In “Gone From Daylight”, Justin is alive, but searching for a way to die. Taryn is technically dead, but searching for a way to live. They complete each other. So whether it’s Ethan and Drew displaying both sides of being in or out of the closet, or Wesley and Cyrus battling over being imprisoned in a social cage or taking the idea of ‘freedom’ a bit too far over the edge… there will always be an element that bonds and connects the two characters together in a really intimate way. Something that makes them ‘work’. Establish that, and the hard part will be over with.
Next… keep in mind that every character in your story is beautiful in their own way. Now, does that mean that every boy has to be a supermodel of some sort? No. But the idea is that they are beautiful to each other. What they look like doesn’t really matter. I, personally write most of my stories in the first person. So the love interest is almost always the most gorgeous boy on the planet when told through the eyes of the beholder. In real life, people have drastically different tastes. Taller, shorter, more hair, less hair, NO hair, waifish and sweet, muscles and attitude, ages 14 to 40. No matter who your characters are, it’s how they feel about the love interest that creates the vision of beauty before them. (Never forget to feel) In cases like this, less is more. Give a ‘basic’ physical description, and then let it stand without too much more detail. Let your reader fill in the details on their own. Allow their imagination to be a part of the fantasy. If you read Pete’s stories in Imagine Magazine, that’s a really perfect example of this. Give the readers room to fill in the blanks. They can do it much better than we can. The idea isn’t to force a vision, but to build an experience.
Last, but definitely not least, keep this idea in mind. “Sex… is dessert.”
You ever had one of those parents that had that cheesecake or hot apple pie or whatever, but said, you have to eat your dinner first? You have to eat your vegetables! Hehehe! When it comes to creating romance in your story, the same rule applies. Take your time. I understand that the ‘greatest love of all time’ may be the overall point of what you’re trying to write, but don’t rush it. Let the boys meet. Let them interact and have some fun with one another first. Let your audience know WHY your main character is in love with this person. Let the awareness grow through experience. Those little giggles and awkward feelings are a part of love. Not just for teenagers, but for your entire life. It brings you life and joy in its most potent forms. You should be feeling that too while you’re writing. Wallow in it! Smile with every word you type. Love is obsessive! This is the boy that you can’t go a day without! The boy that it literally *HURTS* to be away from! Even for just a few hours. Don’t be scared of those feelings. Those nervous jitters and blushes and all of those embarrassing moments of your life when love and fear were so closely intertwined… TALK about it! People will understand. We’ve all been there. That’s just the touch you’re looking for.
There should be some tension. The readers should feel that there is some risk involved in telling this beautiful stranger how you feel. It’s not supposed to be easy. If it was as easy as saying, “Get naked, cutie!”, then the romance aspect loses its impact. That’s just prostitution without the exchange of money. Hehehe, let them worry. Make that big leap of faith really mean something. Sex doesn’t begin with nudity. It begins with a shy smile, or the eye contact from across a crowded room. It begins with discomfort and broken conversation. These are your ‘veggies’. They may not taste as awesome as the rest of your meal, but they provide the nutrients to keep your story strong. And once you get through the conflict and the doubt and the angst… you get dessert! And dessert is AWESOME when you’ve worked for it! Hehehe!
Anyway, I hope this helps you guys out! Keep writing! And remember, hopeless romantics are only hopeless in the eyes of the unromantic! So dig in, find that warm and fuzzy place within you, and bring all the candy and flowers that you want to the stories you write. Your fans will relate to it, and appreciate every word!
This has been Comsie Talks for March, 2013! Happy Writing!